Teenage girl who weighed just six stone wrongly diagnosed with eating disorder when she had a deadly brain tumour
Nichole Bain, 19, was suffering from severe headaches and sickness when she visited her GP in Blackburn, LancashireShe actually had a malignant brain tumour the size of a 50p coin
01:29 GMT, 12 May 2012
A teenager weighing just six stone was wrongly diagnosed as an anorexic by doctors when she actually had a potentially deadly brain tumour.
Nichole Bain, 19, was suffering from severe headaches and sickness when she visited her GP in Blackburn, Lancashire.
At the time she had to wear clothes that normally fit an 11-year-old, and her doctor mistakenly thought she had an eating disorder.
When her symptoms failed to go away, Miss Bain sought the opinions of other doctors and she was referred to a neurologist.
Changes: Nichole Bain weighed just six stone (right) when as a 15-year-old she was wrongly diagnosed as an anorexic by doctors when she actually had a potentially deadly brain tumour. She is now healthy again (left)
She was stunned to be told she needed an emergency brain scan, just days before she was due to fly to Turkey on holiday.
Tests showed Miss Bain had a malignant brain tumour the size of a 50p coin – and if she had flown on a plane, the air pressure would likely have exacerbated her condition.
Miss Bain underwent an operation to remove the tumour.
She then endured two months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, losing her long hair, before she was finally told that the treatment had been successful.
Her mother Julie Bain, 41, said: 'We initially got nowhere but all we’re bothered about is seeing Nichole eat again and to know that the tumour has gone.
'Doctors thought she had anorexia or bulimia and each time we went it was different. When the GP said she had anorexia I just thought that a doctor can't be wrong so accepted it.
'Now she’s having a brain scan every four months for two years, then every six months for three years, then every year for five years and then every five years after that.
'There’s still a way to go yet.'
Road to recovery: Tests showed Miss Bain, pictured with her mother Julie, had a malignant brain tumour the size of a 50p coin
Miss Bain was 15 and weighed 8.5-stone when in December 2008 she began suffering from severe headaches and constant sickness.
Her doctor first said she suffered from migraines, then celiac disease and even bizarrely said she was 'standing up too fast'.
She was finally diagnosed with anorexia in April 2009 after her weight dropped to just six stone.
Mrs Bain, who is her daughter’s full-time carer, said: 'She complained of a bad headache and felt sick and was dizzy and I took her to the doctors.
'We never saw the same doctor twice so we felt frustrated that we knew something was wrong and they talked to us like we were stupid and gave us painkillers.
Schoolgirl: Miss Bain was wrongly diagnosed with anorexia in April 2009 after her weight dropped to just six stone
'They always said it may be this, it may be that – they never committed to anything.
'They even said that she was dizzy because she was standing up too fast. To say that was disgusting.
'The doctor was about to send her to a psychiatrist about having an eating disorder.'
After months of feeling unwell, Miss Bain started hiding being sick from her parents because she was ashamed and thought it was her fault.
Mrs Bain said: 'All her food came straight back up, she wasn’t getting any nutrition at all. They even said that it may have been something she had eaten or she was allergic to something.
'I was only after she had the operation and I helped her out the bath that I saw just how skinny she was.'
They went to see another GP who sent her for cognitive and non-cognitive tests.
Mrs Bain said: 'The GP had a feel round Nichole’s neck and she said that she needed an emergency scan. That’s when we said that we were going to go on holiday to Turkey so they got us in for the scan the next day.
'After the scan we were going to make another appointment and we got told to wait in the treatment room. Then they came in and said, “You’ve got a brain tumour.” We all had a big long cry.'
Miss Bain was admitted to Manchester Children's Hospital where she had an operation to remove the tumour.
When she came round doctors said that they had taken out 99 per cent of the tumour; the rest was destroyed by chemotherapy.
She had to go through six weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before a more intensive treatment called ‘packer regime’ – before her appetite came back with a vengeance.
Since the operation, Miss Bain has had double vision in her eyes and has to have Botox injected into them to make them straight, and also has to have intensive physio to help her walk properly again.